Intraday Market Update
US equity markets had a significant gap at the open again this morning, only this time it was lower. The S&P 500 opened about -10 points lower (at 1,148) but buyers immediately stepped in erasing all of the losses and pushing the index into the black by +10 points to just under 1,170, or +23 points off of its lows. The S&P 500, DJIA, and NASDAQ indices are all now approaching their 50-day SMA's from below. The Russell 2000 is trading slightly above its 50-day SMA. One would think the 50-day SMA's would provide some sort of technical resistance, however, they did not provide any technical support last Thursday when the markets plunged.
Skepticism about the viability of the European version of TARP continues. Many believe that lending more money to governments that have already borrowed too much will not solve the Euro zone's problems. The skepticism can be found in the currency markets as the Euro has fallen -2.8% against the US dollar since intraday highs yesterday. Other concerns have to do with the moral hazard of bailing out entire economies and that funding for the aid package, known as a special purpose vehicle, does not now exist. The funding will have to be supported by the 27 nations that form the European Union, including Germany which has deeply opposed a bailout until now. The fund will raise money by issuing debt (to richer nations like Germany) and then making loans to support troubled economies. So the bailout package is essentially a commitment for the special purpose vehicle to borrow money if a troubled country (i.e. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, etc.) asks for assistance. The 27 European Union nations would guarantee the fund. The IMF has pledged 250 billion euros to support the fund.
On Capital Hill, politicians began drilling top executives from BP, Transocean, and Halliburton about the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Each of the executives essentially blamed the other companies for the explosion and failure to control the oil spill. The Senate is also gearing up for a vote on key amendments to the financial reform bill. The amendments deal with a controversial audit of the Federal Reserve and one that would require the government to relinquish control over mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In earnings news, broker dealer Legg Mason is up nearly +15% after beating expectations and authorizing a $1 billion share buyback program. Mortgage insurer MBIA (MBI) is down about -5% after reporting another huge quarterly loss. Shares were down -10% in early trading. Solar names LDK Solar and JA Solar both outperformed analysts expectations and offered very strong guidance. JASO increased its full year shipment estimates by +10%, and said that demand has grown stronger. LDK and JASO shares reacted favorably early, but are now both down -5%.
Priceline is off about -12.5% after releasing a weak forecast on their conference call. Executives cited the impact of geopolitical factors around the world, including the Iceland volcano, the European debt crisis and civil unrest in Thailand. Watchmaker name Fossil blew away expectations and offered a very strong full year forecast. Shares of FOSL are up nearly +10%. Maidenform Brands (MFB) are up +15% and at an all time high after beating expectations and raising its full year outlook.
Commodities are mixed with Gold and Silver shining bright. Gold has gained +1.50% to 1,220 an ounce and is approaching its all time highs from December. Silver is higher by +3.95%. Front month crude is -$1 off its highs and relatively flat at $76.75 per barrel. Natural Gas is slightly lower (-0.53%) while copper is lower by about -1%.
Global markets were mostly lower on Tuesday. Leading the declines in the Asia-Pacific region were China (-1.90%), Hong Kong (-1.37%), Australia (-1.13%), and Japan (-1.14%).
European markets also lower with the exception of Germany (+0.33%). The declines were led by Spain (-3.32%), London (-0.99%), and France (-0.73%).
Core Sector List:
Overall reading: 15 sectors advancing, 1 sector declining.
Strongest Sectors: Gold Miners, Home Construction, Banks
Weakest Sectors: Internet, Oil, Broker Dealers
S&P 500 - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts:
Dow Jones - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts:
NASDAQ - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts:
Russell 2000 - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts: